Sony have announced the release of the their all new Sony Alpha a6000, slated to start shipping in April. Although the a6000 has a very ‘NEX’ look and feel, it is actually meant to be the replacement to one of our favorite cameras of the last year, the Sony NEX 6 (in our minds, the best of the NEX cameras), and is the next step in Sony’s efforts to phase out the NEX line while shifting everything under their ‘Alpha’ brand. But does the new a6000 represent enough of an upgrade to make you forget about your favorite NEX?
Although the new Alpha a6000 is the replacement for, and an upgrade to, the NEX 6, it’s actually prices a couple hundred dollars less than the NEX 6 was at the time of it’s release (the a6000 is $798 USD with the 16-50mm Kit Lens, and and $648 USD Body Only – vs. the NEX 6’s initial $1,000 USD price tag). Sony also claim that the new a6000 has the “World’s Fastest Autofocus” system, a claim we have all heard before, but with a lag of just 0.06 seconds, thanks to the 179 phase-detect and 25 contrast-detect AF points, it’s hard to imagine that this little beastie will be anything but lightning quick. The camera can also put out 11 fps continuous shooting with tracking AF (see the video above – it’s impressive how clear each image of the moving parrot came out). The a6000 also features a 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor that Sony swears is different than the 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor on Sony’s aging NEX-7, along with the latest Bionz X processor (the same one that is found on Sony’s Full Frame A7 and A7R).
The Sony Alpha a6000 sports an OLED viewfinder with 100 percent frame coverage, a tilting 3-inch 921k-dot LCD, a pop-up flash, a Multi Interface Shoe, 1080/60p and 24p HD video capture with clean HDMI output, seven customizable buttons and 4K still image output to a compatible TV. You also have the option of using the 6 tile ‘NEX’ style menu or the new tab-style Alpha User Interface, which is much more user friendly. The a6000 also includes WiFi and NFC, allowing you to control your camera with, and transfer images to, a smartphone or tablet device via the Android or iOS app. The a6000 also boasts an ISO capability up to 25,600 – but it remains to be seen how high you can go before files become unusable.
Conspicuous in it’s absence is the a6000’s apparent lack of a microphone input jack, which is increasingly important for a Hybrid Photographer. So if you’re going to use the Alpha a6000 as part of your Hybrid system, you’ll need to think about picking up an external audio recorder like a Zoom H4n or Zoom H6.
My 2 Cents
On paper, the Sony Alpha a6000 looks like a worthy successor to the NEX 6, and this will definitely be a camera that we keep our eyes on. Sony are famous for making tremendous sensors, so the Image Quality for stills and video should be wonderful. Still, I’d still like to see a mic input jack, and although Sony have been playing catch up in the lens department, and many of those are from quality lens companies like Carl Zeiss, they’re still not quite on par with other mirrorless offerings… yet. Still, the a6000 checks enough of the right boxes and it looks like a glowing review waiting to happen. In the end, it looks like Sony have another winner on their hands with the a6000, but we’ll reserve our final assessment until the a6000 sees wide release.